Thursday, August 30, 2012

Ground Floor Opportunity

John and I must have received the same request today from Spokane Rocket Velo to post up an appeal for volunteers to help pull off the upcoming Lilac City Crit, because I just noticed that he put something up this afternoon. He's covered the what/where/why stuff really well, so no need for me to go over that again.

Instead, I will try to supplement what he wrote by coming at you from a little different angle.

The pic below was taken at the SRV-organized Whitworth Crit earlier this summer. Crit racing is fast, furious and fun to watch.  It belongs in downtown Spokane.

Yes, you could go down on Sept 8th and just watch, like most people.

OR . . . you could become part of the machine that's driving this amazing addition to the cycling landscape here.

I posted previously about how Alan and Mike, along with Sarah and Aaron and Chad and Ron and tons of other  people that I don't even know about within-the-ranks-of and affiliated with SRV, have done all the heavy lifting to make this rad event happen.  That makes it super-easy for you throw down a very reasonable amount of time and energy in order to help make something majorly bike-rad happen in Spokane.  And become an insider, a member of the the group that defied all odds and put big-time sanctioned bike racing back onto the streets of downtown Spo.

If you're even a little on the fence, just call or text or email Alan . . . he's one of the most energetic, positive, welcoming people I've ever met, and he'll find you something to do that fits your talents and make you feel like a million bucks for doing it.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Super Serious Business

My big-time, go-to, right-hand, bike-riding-and-blogging-about-it camera is seriously messed up. Which puts me in a state of major distress. It won't auto-focus anymore, which is like the bike equivalent of a taco'd wheel. Or two.

I can't begin to describe the love I have gradually developed for this wonderful picture-taking-machine, nor the depths of desparity I have delved into since discovering it declines to do it's deal.

The Canon warranty process is a little wonky, but at the same time highly responsive. I'm at that realy weird sentimental place where if you love something you have to set it free and if it comes back it was meant to be and if not, you are a loser. I hope it comes back. Shit, I can't even think straight right now.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Who Thinks Martyrdom Is A Pretty Darn Good Thing?

That's a play on an awesome mini-diatribe from the movie with the greatest number of awesome cliches in one movie ever, Field Of Dreams.

Greatest movie ever. I'm serious. Photo shamelessly ripped from its Wiki page.

The diatribe being this:

Annie Kinsella: Who's for Eva Braun here? Who's for burning books? Who wants to spit on the constitution of the United States of America, anybody? Now who's for the Bill of Rights? Who thinks that freedom is a pretty darn good thing? Who thinks that we have to stand up to the kind of censorship that they had under Stalin?

But seriously, martyrdom was my motivation for selling my carbon fiber road bike on Craigslist today. Really.

I think you can clearly see that I was happy in the Garden of Eden and that I will therefore be miserable without it, but damnit, my principles dominate my needs. If Lance is banned, then so am I. And if I had a tri bike and a wetsuit, I'd have sold them too. In a heartbeat. At yard sale prices! Take that, Tygart, you bastard!!!

And just in case you think I'm kidding, here's the ad:

Okay, so the real reason I sold it is that I need space and cash for a new bike I am jonesing over. But don't tell Tygart. I enjoy seeing him squirm.

The other reason I don't want my true motives revealed is that I've apparently been awarded some Tour Victories, by default, since they couldn't find anyone clean who was actually racing. If you don't believe me, check out the notification from the TdF Organizing Committee that appeared in the comments section of my last post. As history will now show, I beat Pantani up Ventoux, just barely.

Photo shamelessly ripped from cyclingnews

Oh wait. Maybe he just barely beat me. Or maybe I let him win???

Just shut your pie hole about whatever you know or think you know.  Or I'll have to go to the USADA or WADA or TMZ with the dirt I have on you. And I am NOT bluffing.

Krap. How did this all get so political. I thought we were just riding our bikes.

Friday, August 24, 2012

A Sad Day

Bet you thought I was gonna talk about Lance. Nope. A hundred million thousand billion words were written about that situation today, and I know this because I was out there on the interwebs, braving the vitriol-fest. I'm relatively sure positive there's nothing substantive or productive I could add to the shit storm.

Instead, I was referring to something exponentially more innocuous, in terms of how it affects the world's masses, but also quite profound at the micro-local level . . . upon inspection tonight, the construction project just up the street on 29th appears to be significantly behind schedule.

"The first phase, from Grand to Bernard, is set to wrap up in mid-August", city spokeswoman Ann Deasy said, back in this article. There musta been some trouble, 'cause it ain't nowhere close to being done, as I see it.

Not that I would normally even care, but in this case, one of the detour routes is down 25th, which is my street. I now understand what it feels like to live on the shoulder of I-90. Brandy and I have adapted to the complexity of just getting down to the park, but it hasn't been easy. I'm all for progress and improvement (29th needs it, if ever any street did), and I hate how staid this makes me sound, but we're ready for things to get back to how they used to be. I'm not sure that I want it this bad, but don't think I haven't fantasized about the possibilities of how quickly this could all be over if the crew were doping.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Beacon Thur, As My iPhone Saw It




I also took, or *thought* I took some killer iphone vids. I was seriously disappointed and actually quite pissed to find out that I completely whiffed. The drop at the beginning of this next vid is what Jason nailed 3 or 4 times. Sorry, Jason, technology is apparently just beyond my grasp. There is something redeeming about this piece of krap footage though, that makes it worth posting, and that is the cloud of dust rolling up after A-Wat's crash. Watch for it about 4 secs in.


I shredded my freewheel at the end of the day and of course that vid came out perfect.


 The only positive piece of news is that I am motivated to keep trying. Stay tuned, then.

Monday, August 20, 2012


Not that his bike will come back, I think the chances are slim. But just to let Bryan know that I give a shit about some douchebag ripping off his bike and that I wish that this kind of justice could be his. And oh ya, it's f-bomb laden, so cover the little one's ears. But it's definitely an appropriate place for the use of the word, for us adults.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Date Ride Report

I asked Patty out on a date ride yesterday morning and while I wasn't exactly secretive about where we were going, I wasn't exactly fully forthcoming about every last detail, either. She's awesome and so she played along with my lame little game. This picture makes it look like we were stopped, but we were rolling. How awesome does that make us?

Patty says "Hi!"

Our primary destination was the Donut Parade. This is *thee* Spokane donut shop icon. If  Strick's were still going, we'd have a race, but they aren't and so DP is it. I went to high school just up the road at G-Prep and I skipped outta one or the other of my morning classes on quite a few occasions just so I could head down and pick up a coupla their fine maple bars. On those breaks from book-learnin', DP schooled me real-world on what a proper maple bar should look and taste like. It's a bit of a curse, actually . . . once you've experienced maple bar nirvana, it's hard find one that lives up to your high expectations. I'm mostly disappointed with what's generally available to grocery stores and even the donut shops. I'm not trying to be all snobby or slam anyone, it's just that a warm, fresh DP maple bar has the ability to stir your soul and influence your day.

DP has been through some tough times in recent years - the gentleman that ran it for decades finally aged out and tried to keep it going, I think, by selling it to someone who he thought had what it took to keep it going. But they didn't, and I think he had to step back in and take it over. (I could be so totally screwed up on all this, so don't take any of that as fact.)  I don't know what happened between then and now, but the place is being run by highly energetic people and they have expanded their seating area and the vibe is totally energetic and upbeat. The customer service is over the top. Someone obviously recognized the opportunity that the icon provided and has decided to run with it, in the right direction. It is a currently a very, very rad donut shop.

We weren't there for froofy frozen lemonades or jet teas though. Please. This next pic might provide a clue as to our motivation.

The display case was awesome, but we weren't here for any of this regular stuff.

In semi-hushed tones, we made it clear that we were interested in the goods "behind the counter". A nod and a wink and the exchange of four dollars ensued. After a few moments, we were handed a nondescript brown paper bag package. We took it and left, trying to avoid making eye contact with anyone.

With our booty secured and under wraps in my front bag, we pit-stopped at Williams Seafood Market to pick up fish for the evening's 'cue.

Steelhead was on sale and fit nicely into our meal plan, so the decision was easy.

Meanwhile, the DP contraband was simmering in what was becoming an oven of a front bag, fired by the increasingly intense morning sun.  We talked over our options for a shady spot to rest-stop and settled on Corbin Park.  Upon arriving, we both glanced nervously over our shoulders, to make sure we were alone. Once satisfied, we pulled the package from the bag.

I opened it . . .

. . . and slowly removed the contents . . .

. . . wait for it . . . . . .

. . . Ta-Da!!!  It's called the FLATLINER and it consists of a maple bar stuffed with 2 end-to-end sausage links, and topped with 2 slices of bacon. And then slathered with maple topping.

Once out of the bag, we just looked at it for minute and then we looked at each other and then in unison, we spontaneously busted out laughing. We couldn't even fathom the unholy excess of what we were looking at, and what we were about to embark upon.

After some time spent processing it all, we did finally dive in.  The soft/crunch salty/sweet thing works pretty dang well, actually.

You can read all about the Donut Parade HERE.

And  you can read Doug Clark's perspective on this culinary beast HERE.

On the way home, we followed a coupla River City Red riders partway up the south hill.  They were just cooling off after their group ride, I presume.  Patty was buzzing on a sugar high and wanted to throw down, but I talked her our of it. After everything it had taken to get our flatliners and then get them down, I didn't want hers coming back up.

I asked Patty if she would go out with me again sometime.  After a way-too-long pause, she said yes.  I feel like I may have dodged a bullet.  And then on the other hand I think maybe the greatness of this date may only become apparent to her given some perspective that only time can provide.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Fwd: Lilac City Twilight Crit Press Release

This is a majorly low-quality pic, and for that I apologize, but I was google-imaging "Spokane Downtown Crit" for something historical and cool. Nothing like I'd hoped for came up, but this one did, which is a pic off my own blog that I took 3 or 4 years ago at the start of a nighttime crit that's a stage of the Tour of Walla Walla. (Google search results are getting a little too personal and creepy, but that's a topic for another day.) Even though it's from a different town, I think it's appropriate, because it's still relatively local and because it helps to convey the enormity of the spectacle that a heart-of-the-city, after-dark-crit can create. It's a big field, probably Mens 4/5, which I did once, and it's probable that I was amongst these riders (I didn't win, if you're wondering) and that Patty was snapping the pic, but I can't say for positive sure.

Through some form of serendipity, I was a spectator at the 1980's Washington Trust Classic downtown crit - I say that because I wasn't a consistent or tenured bike nerd through my teens, but I did have my moments. I was probably there on My Schwinn LeTour, on which I did a fair amount of roaming and of which I was very proud. All that is beside the point, though. The point is that I could hardly believe my eyes, as far as what was going on with the race. I'd never seen anything like it - I was pressed up against a barrier with all my 160 lbs of might, fully mesmerized by the incredible action. And I mean incredible. Shoulder-to-shoulder, bar-to-bar stuff, at speed, with the occasional big bump that would result in something metallic (pedal) contacting and sparking off the tarmac, as the bumpee held on for dear life with his white knuckles, all the while madly determined not to lose position, until he recovered. At which point he, and I, could finally breathe again.

I doubt that anyone in attendance that day could have possibly imagined that they'd be watching this event for the last time. But as one and then two and then five and then ten years crept by, it started to become apparent and then sadly sink in, that a legitimate, sanctioned race through the streets of downtown was a thing of the past. And so holy hell, maybe now you can begin to grasp why I'm so wound up about the fact that, yes. . . it's back. Shite.

If I haven't already made it clear, let's go over it again: You. Should. Plan. To. Be. There.

I received an email press release notice a coupla days ago that even though I am hardly press, I am thrilled to pass along . . .

Spokane, Washington
Local cycling club organizes first downtown bike race since 1980’s

On Saturday, September 8, Spokane Rocket Velo will be hosting the Lilac City Twilight Criterium, a bicycle race in the heart of downtown Spokane.  The race will be the first USA Cycling-sanctioned race in downtown Spokane since the Olympic Trials and the Washington Trust Classic which happened in the 80’s.  Many long-time cyclists and business owners recall these events with great pride and are excited about the recent rebirth of racing in the Spokane area.

The first race starts at 5 p.m., showcasing the area’s beginner racers while the last race of the night starts at 8 p.m., giving spectators a chance to see top level racers compete for thousands of dollars in prizes and merchandise.  Other featured races will include a citizen’s and kid’s race, both free for the public. 

Spokane Rocket Velo believes pairing the race with Spokefest--a community-oriented bicycle ride that happens the following morning--embraces the club’s mission to promote cycling and overall healthy community activities in the Spokane area.

For more information go to and click on Lilac City Twilight Crit.

Race sponsors:
Larry H. Miller Downtown Dealerships
Visit Spokane
Downtown Spokane
Washington Trust Bank
North Division Bicycle Shop

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Putting In The Work, After Work

An after-work MTB ride group has been forming at my workplace. The dude leading the charge is my esteemed colleague, Aaron Watson, aka "A-Wat", aka "The Venerable Mr. Watson". I was able to join up yesterday for the first time, on a ride that for me, dished out substantial doses of both pleasure and pain.

The afternoon's venue was Beacon, and the playas were:

A-Wat, of course
The fit and fast Ryan
The bomb-any-drop Jason
Bryan, of Midnight Century fame
Matt Skillicorn, aka [TBD]*
and me, of course

*The verdict is still out on Matt's alias. "Skilz" is logical, because he's quickly developing them. But "Skilly" has the better ring . . . in a Boston Southie kind of way.  Of course he could also do something heroic or tragic on his bike that would pin some evident-to-the-event moniker on himself that will stick forever, like it or not. Only time will tell.

Me and Aaron were on our single-boingers and the rest were on their double-boingers, just to paint you the very most basic equipment landscape.

As with any ride at Beacon, ours began with a climb.  (All pics were taken with my iPhone 4s. Damn little bugger just continues to amaze me.)

Matt (L) and A-Wat (R) chugging it in the 90° heat.

Ryan (L) and Jason (R) were the first to summit, giving them ample time to conversate over all manner of bike nerdness.

A-Wat and Bryan, confidently bagging the summit.

Jason, Ryan and Matt, possibly strategizing over the impending descent. But more likely just talking shit.

At some point on the way down, I bit it pretty hard . . . it was an over-the-bars affair on a steep descent, into the brush, and it felt pretty spectacular to me because I landed on my head. It was the best crash of the day, hands down, if I do say so myself. There are good crashes and there are bad crashes, but this one turned out to be good for the following reasons, in order of importance:
  • My bike didn't get broken
  • My iphone, in the side pocket of my shorts, with the pics on it, didn't get pulverized
  • No bones got broken
  • My helmet didn't get busted (since I landed on my head, I worried about this a little, because nothing pisses me off like having to spend $80 to replace a piece of molded styrofoam)
  • Some of the crew saw me go over, which if you're gonna crash, let's face it - you'd rather have somebody witness it than nobody at all
My ribs will be sore for a coupla days, but not in a broken way, in a good way. I have a few raspberries that  may gain me some sympathy from Patty, but most likely not, since she largely thinks I am a fool for bombing around on the sides of dirt hills at 50.

Other than that, though, it was a sweet descent back to the parking lot.

Jason demonstrates how it's done.

A-Wat pulls out the stones and follows suit.

It was a great ride and I guess the only downside is how much I enjoyed it and what that may end up costing me in terms of the new equipment I now think I need to go back and do it better (think dropper seatpost). And of course how much the next crash will hurt.

But even all that is relatively good.  What is somewhat related to this ride and that totally sucks is that Bryan went home after the ride and parked his bike in his shop and someone broke in overnight and lifted it.  It's a very weird deal, because there was a lot of other stuff around that had value, but the bike was the only thing that was taken. Thieves in general are just total lowlife scumbags, but bike thieves are the ultimate bottom dwellers.

If you have neighbor with no job that's living in his parents' basement and suddenly shows up on a killer new MTB, Bryan would appreciate hearing about it - the bike is a 2011 Trek Hifi Plus, with mods, including Deity Dirty 30 bars.

You have his permission to kick ass first and ask questions later.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Heavy Lifters

I spent a delightful morning on Mt. Spokane helping out, in a very small way, with SRV's Mount Spokane Hill Climb.  This race is part of their Inland Road Race Series and it's a super-suffer-fest . . . 3500 feet of climbing in 10 miles. And did I mention it's a race. Holy hell.

I was manning the turn from Mt Spokane Park Drive onto Summit Road and yes, my job involved holding a stop/slow paddle in one hand and marshaling riders through the turn with the other and that doesn't leave many other hands for picture-taking and so I don't want you to think I wasn't doing my job, so let's not get into how these pictures got taken. Let's just glance at them, instead.

Mr. Kelsey

Mr. Hungerford

Unknown (to me) rider #1

Unknown (to me) rider #2 (or could it be the same rider????)

After I was relieved of my responsibilities , I did wander down to Chair 1 for a minute, after relieving myself in the woods, after a long and rigorous wait due to poor planning on my part. Those white specs in the lower right foreground . . .

. . . yep, gatherers of huckleberries.  Huckleberriests. Berry Hucklers. Hucklemucklers. Make up your own, it's not hard. High huckleberry season, at any rate.

Back to the title of this post, though. If you thought it referred to the rock-hard dudes and chicks that made the climb, you would be wrong. So would I, as a matter of fact. I'd envisioned that maybe I'd have the time outside of my job to take a few pics and write up something about the race and the racers, which is certainly a worthy story in itself, but what really grabbed me, from the moment I rolled into the staging area just after 8 am, was how dialed in and organized the whole event was.

SRV, through vision, planning and major effort, has become a FORCE in Spokane-area bike race organization and promotion. I think, I know, that a lot of racers, especially those new to the game, take for granted that racing "just happens". It doesn't. It takes humongous energy and effort, driven by a passion for bikes and bike racing.  Grass roots, in other words. There's no other way it can happen.

I know that there are tons of people, within and outside of the SRV organization that contribute to making a race and a racing season successful, but these two guys, Mike Sirott and Alan Jacob, are driving the bus, lifting the heavies, shaking and moving. Hat's off, gentlemen.

The big story, though, hasn't even really hit the presses yet. These guys, and yes, I know there are tons of other people and organizations and businesses on board, like River City Red, but yeah, these guys have apparently managed to pull off what seemed like an impossibility - the Lilac City Twilight Criterium . . . a crit through downtown Spokane. Holy living hell.

It's been years since this has happened and it was awesome and everybody always thinks "it's a good idea and somebody should bring it back". Most people, however, have no idea what it takes to actually make this happen.


As a Spokane bike enthusiast, here's what you can and should do to support the effort these cats are putting forth:

1.) Get your ass downtown and support it, which will be fun for you.

2.) Get your friends to get their asses downtown, which will be fun for them.

3.) Take the next step and volunteer to become part of the action - there will be many opportunities.  Or,

4.) Throw down and RACE!

Stay tuned to the SRV website for details. This is pretty freakin awesome.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Heightened Security

Brandy and I tend to go to the park after dark these days, in order to avoid the summertime crowds. But the after-dark-atmosphere is noticeably more tense right now, due to the city's response to the Spokane Serial Stackers.

Tonight we were just innocently tossing around our LED fris, when a security car with one of those articulating driver-side spotlights shows up and starts blasting light all across the field we're playing on. I hit the deck and killed the LED. Brandy was exposed for the first time to the "GET DOWN" command. She didn't get it. Luckily, she didn't give us up.

I get that it costs the city a coupla bucks to undo the work of the stackers, but I'm just not buying that they're public enemies. They inject some much-needed energy and creativity into spo, and I think we can afford it. Rock on, stackers.

Friday, August 10, 2012


Tonight was earmarked for un-doing the fatbike tubeless conversion. I learned a lot about [fatbike] ghetto tubeless and what it can and can't do and what are the advantages and what are the hassles. I fully expect that I will be rolling tubeless again at some point, because the advantages are pretty major, but I'm exhausted with the hassles for now. It's time to step back and thought-process it for a while, until the voices rev me up and tell me to go for it again. I'm a little afraid about what the next recipe of chemicals and next level of explosive inflation methods will expose me to though, I won't lie.

But for the time being, what was in order was demounting my tires and cleaning the goop off the rims and the inside of the casings (which I did a coupla nights ago - majorly messy job) and then sorting through what's left of the tube carnage from flatsravaganza . . . what has slime in it and what doesn't and what has too many holes in it to salvage and what doesn't. Long story short, the tube house is now kept. I ended up installing eight patches, all up.  (The propane bottle in the picture is coincidental - no gas was used in the making of this blog post.)

What it did take though, was approximately four beers.

The recent adventures - JWPT tour and MC - have been pain-fests. In a good way, but still.

I'm ready to have some fun of the more leisurely type with this bike and in support of that goal, it now sports a front mini-crate.

That took approximately another beer.

An LED frisbee fits perfectly in the basket. How 'bout that.

First order of business, then, was a trip to the park. Brandy could honestly care less what bike gets us there. "Just throw it, boss!"

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


. . . is the best time.